Mazda CX-3

Latest car craze sizes up on the used car stand


The first of the five utility categories Auto Bakkie Race evaluates as part of the lead up to next week’s Gumtree Pre-Owned Car Awards, takes a gander at the world’s latest car niche. Let’s see how these new-fangled ‘crossovers’ shape up on the used car stand. People are even confused on what exactly to call this lot – are they SUVs or MPVs? Nobody quite knows, but let’s just call them the crossovers

Baby boomers
Baby SUVs in essence, this booming sector did not exist just a few years ago, but just look at it now. It also means that they are pretty new to the used car world, which makes this round of this year’s Gumtree Pre Owned Awards a pretty intriguing one case. First and foremost, this report singles out the five finalists that best retain their new value of all on the used crossover market, before the winner is announced next week.

So, based on Unitrans pre-owned car sales data, but in alphabetical order, the Hyundai Creta, Mazda CX-3, Subaru XV, Suzuki Ignis and Toyota C-HR are already all winners in their own right, because they best maintain their value among all two-year old crossovers on the SA market. But which is our favourite, and how close – or how far we will be off the full Jury decision come the announcement of the real winner Thursday evening 24 October?

It seems like yesterday when tested these five crossover pioneers new, so before we consider how they shape up against each other as pre-owned bargains today, let’s consider what we said about them new back then…

Hyundai Creta – Creta Comforts
Hyundai’s Creta is an impressive car – it looks the part of a modern SUV albeit a tad staid versus its bigger Tucson and Santa Fe siblings and some rivals and its plain inside, but gets the job done and is comfy and easy to drive. 

This version of the Indian-built Creta gets Hyundai’s 1.6-litre petrol lump – not quite slap-you-on-the-back fast, but it gets on with it  and while it doesn’t quite match some rivals tank-to-tank, where this little crossover really scores is on price…

Mazda CX-3 – Other Way Around
We have always liked the Mazda CX-3 and now we’re even more impressed. Take a peek at that price – this is one of the bargains in the car market right now. Then take a look at its performance – 8 seconds to 100km/h rivals turbocharged exotica of double the price. 

So, in this downsizing world, it’s heartening to know that here is a car that has it all, lurking a class or two down next time you find what you’re not going to get for that money as the ‘other way around, CX-3 gives you far more than you would expect, for a lot less too.

Suzuki Ignis – Tiger
Now here’s a little tiger. This little Suzuki punches that ‘excite button’ hard. Cheeky, exciting, daring and different, Ignis is a wonderful break from the pumped-up hatch norm to prove that you can buy awesome style and chic in a well-appointed A segment car. 

Ignis packs a considerable spec and it’s cleverly conceived too, never mind that it delivered better than expected in our performance tests, impressed in driving excitement to make it a great statement for a kid out to style it with their first set of wheels.

Subaru XV – Fifteen Up
The XV delivers quite sensible, safe and sound answer to the active family’s motoring needs than those WRC-bred Subaru race rockets of yore. It trades high tech for turbocharging, but still hangs on to the best bit of any Subaru – that incredible Symmetrical All Wheel drive. 

Not only does it ensure catlike traction and stability, but it makes for a ride like no other. Those ten years of WRC domination certainly still shine through over and above a most impressive safety spec. Which leaves just one question – why not a WRX version, Subaru? 

Toyota CH-R – CharGe!
this CH-R is the first downsized turbo Toyota. It’s been worth the wait too. You’d swear CH-R was propelled by more than a 1198cc turbo petrol inline 4-cylinder engine – it feels as good as the 2.1-litre in the RAV 4 and it performs just as well– especially at reef altitudes 

Brave CH-R must compete in ta tough motor niche that calls carmakers to be daring and Toyota has succeeded in that too. And the clincher is, it’s a Toyota and that makes it a winner already. Even if it may challenge the traditionally conservative Toyota buyer.

So how do they shape up?
It’s an interesting exercise to consider what would be most important to a buyer in this niche, but we reckon that should be value and therein lies a little conundrum. We don’t believe the Suzuki quite fits with the rest here as it is quite literally half the car and it costs half as much too. So, the Suzuki is quite the bargain.

Looked at the other way around, while the Hyundai is the cheapest of the bigger cars, with the four of them closely matched and topped by the AWD Subaru, while the Mazda keeps its value far better than the rest. Based on a really sharp new price, CX-3 shapes up used too, as not only does it look after the seller, but it also represents a great used bargain too.

The mismatched Suzuki also suffers in terms of back-up, our two-year old version’s warranty is already up and it only has a year of service plan left, so its dear parts basket starts to come into it too. The Mazda has just a year of service and warranty left, but it has the cheapest parts basket, while the Hyundai stars on service and warranty cover, so its dearest parts basket won’t make much difference for three more years.

Cramped company
None of these cars really star on space – in fact the Mazda and Toyota even rival the pint-sized Suzuki in limited boot space, while the Hyundai tops that one, even with it’s staid styling versus the rest. 

Last but not least, the Mazda dominates on performance, where the Subaru runs it close, but enjoys a huge dynamic advantage thanks to that brilliant symmetrical AWD. The Mazda is second best to the Suzuki on fuel, by the way, which shows how good it is all round.

We will ignore Ignis on scoring this one – it should not be here and suffers hugely as a result, but there is a clear winner in our book. Have you figured out what that is? Well, the Mazda CX-3 aced our score sheets as much as it wowed us in every other respect to come away as our winner once again this year

Double winner?
So, let’s see if it can repeat that honour in the official results too, when Gumtree announces its Pre Owned Crossover winner on Thursday.

We will wrap up our exclusive Auto Bakkie Race Gumtree Pre Owned Car Awards coverage with a report on each of the four SUV categories every day next week up to the big announcements Thursday evening 24 October. Come back to read those as they roll out and use links below to navigate between the rest of the categories so far too. – Michele Lupini

Gumtree is offering South African motorists the opportunity to win a car by simply placing their vote for the People’s Choice Award. To vote simply go to click here and follow the prompts.

Gumtree Pre Owned Awards Program & Links
Budget City Cars 
Light Hatchbacks
Medium Hatchbacks
Medium Saloons
Medium Luxury Saloons
Performance Cars
Double Cab Bakkies
Crossover Vehicles
Entry SUVs
Medium SUVs
Large SUVs
Luxury SUVs
All The Winners

Auto Bakkie Race has revised its Road Test Rating System to deliver a more versatile 1-10 score. Over the past few years, very few cars tested ever achieve less than 75% in our previous scoring system and hardly any more than 95%. The new ABR Rating works in a 1 to 10 basis, where 1 represents a traditional score of  75% or less and 10 is 95% or more.

Auto Bakkie Race road tests all cars using state of the art Racelogic VBox test equipment, both at coastal altitude or at the Reef. All cars are tested starting at the same point on the same test road in all tests. Reef tests are differentiated by (1500m ASL). Where we have tested both sides, both sets of figures are published. Coastal acceleration data most often delivers quicker results due to the higher oxygen content of air at lower altitudes.